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The American Littoral Society hung bags of recycled oyster shells from docks on the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers in June to see if they would attract oyster larvae. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


After nearly three months, an effort to restore a once-thriving oyster ecosystem in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers has yet to detect the bivalve mollusk in the waterways, according to an update by the American Littoral Society.

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Workers with the American Littoral Society drop a bag of recycled oyster shells into the river from the dock of a Red Bank home Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


An effort to restore a once-thriving oyster ecosystem in the Navesink River got off to a small start last week with the help of scraps from restaurant diners’ plates.

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sandy hook 070415 1Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.

This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.

Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.

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Robt Kurson Pirate HuntersAmerican Littoral Society president Tim Dillingham (left) speaks with Robert Kurson about the best-selling author’s new PIRATE HUNTERS, in a Nauvoo Grill Club event presented by River Road Books.

His previous nonfiction page-turner, Shadow Divers, became a best-selling sensation here on the Jersey Shore — in part because it detailed the real-life story of salvage divers who discovered the wreck of a Nazi U-boat in the too-close-for-comfort waters off Brielle. Most of all, though, the award-winning 2005 tale was told with a genuine storyteller’s gift – an ear for the sort of “ripping yarn” that’s as old as our fascination with the sea, and the secrets it harbors beneath its shimmering, beckoning surface.

When Robert Kurson visits Fair Haven’s Nauvoo Grill Club this Wednesday evening for his only scheduled New Jersey appearance, he’ll bring with him an all-new tale of high adventure in the dark depths of the ocean, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. And this time, Kurson’s got company.

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TimDillinghamAmerican Littoral Society exec director Tim Dillingham (pictured here with piping plover pal) is the special guest speaker, during a public-invited event hosted by the Brookdale Community College Environmental Club on Monday evening.

If Dr. Seuss’s character The Lorax speaks for the trees, then in Tim Dillingham the native species of our coastal waterways have an articulate advocate who’s proud to “represent the fish.”

As Executive Director of the American Littoral Society since 2003, Dillingham has been a vocal and visible steward for the mission of the environmental organization first founded in that pre-Earth Day era of 1961 — whether donning suit and tie as a gubernatorial appointee to high-level advisory councils and panels, or wading into the region’s waters to conserve the ecological connections between horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds. On Monday evening, January 26, the director ventures inland for a visit to the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, where he’ll assess the health of New Jersey’s ocean environment — and the always-uneasy relationship between inhabited coastlines and uninhibited seas — in a free, public-invited meeting.

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Press release from Brookdale Community College

Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society, will discuss the health of New Jersey ocean environment and the uneasy relationship between inhabited coastlines and uninhibited seas on January 26 at Brookdale Community College.

The 6 pm meeting, open to the public, includes members of the BCC Environmental Club and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Sierra Group.

Specifically, Mr. Dillingham will focus on the need to restore and protect coastal habitat after Hurricane Sandy, and he will explore several defensive strategies for predicted sea level rise in the future.

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sandyhook-npsThe beaches and walkways of Sandy Hook’s northern tip in winter are the subject of the 39th annual New Year’s Day Beach Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Somewhere between the stale aftertaste and inevitable comedown of New Year’s Eve — and the litany of resolutions that begins with a groaning “never again” — there exists an opportunity for locals to truly hit the “refresh” button on the lifestyle routine. Even if you’re stopping just short of taking the Polar Bear plunge, you’ve still got a chance to take in a couple of lungfuls of bracingly frosty air and truly experience some extraordinary scenery, courtesy of the Sandy Hook-based regional chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Named in honor of the Society’s late director who initiated the annual tradition, the 39th Dery Bennett Memorial New Year’s Day Beach Walk commences at 11 am on Thursday, January 1st from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area of the Hook. Littoral Society naturalists conduct the free, public-welcome walk that proceeds from the Society’s headquarters, out to North Beach and beyond — and, while at the tip of the Hook, the group will attempt to communicate with Northeast Chapter coast walkers, across the Bay in New York.

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The collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and elsewhere is the subject of the documentary “Shored Up,” screening for free this Saturday at Holy Cross School.

As filmmaker Ben Kalina tells it, “I made Shored Up to explore what it means to live beside the beauty of the ocean — where, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, we are always just one storm away from catastrophe.”

Filmed in late 2012 and 2013 on locations along the Jersey Shore and the North Carolina coast, the documentary feature hits close to home — and with a Category 5 wallop — for local residents who experienced firsthand the unprecedented and still-lingering effects of the superstorm that marks its second anniversary next month.

This Saturday evening, September 20, Holy Cross School in Rumson hosts a free screening of the film, a public-welcome event that includes a discussion with the director and panel of local coastal and environmental scientists.

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Shored UpThe documentary film SHORED UP, which examines the collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and North Carolina, will be shown September 20 at a special screening in Rumson.

Press release from New Jersey Future

On the evening of Saturday, September 20, New Jersey Future — a nonprofit organization which is working with Sea Bright and Highlands on long-term recovery planning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — will sponsor a free public screening of the documentary feature Shored Up in Rumson.

Doors open at 6:30 pm for the screening, scheduled for 7 pm at Holy Cross School, 40 Rumson Road. At the conclusion of the film there will be a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, featuring the film’s director Ben Kalina, as well as several local coastal and environmental scientists.

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